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SDCC 2016: “Batman Unlimited” Interviews with Roger Craig Smith, Will Friedle, and John DiMaggio

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Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Monsters

At San Diego Comic Con International 2016, Toonzone News was able to sit down in press roundtable interview sessions with Roger Craig Smith (Batman), Will Friedle (Nightwing), and John DiMaggio (Killer Croc) in connection with the upcoming animated movie Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants.


ROGER CRAIG SMITH

Roger Craig SmithQUESTION: How does it feel to voice Batman?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: It feels amazing. To voice Batman is unreal. Doing it for the first time for Arkham Origins was like, “I can’t believe I get to do this.” When the call came in that they wanted me for another project…it’s the weirdest thing, I never in a million years thought I’d be voicing someone as iconic as Batman, and yet I’ve been lucky enough to do it more than once. It’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of opportunities, and again, I know that it’s been so established with actors like Kevin Conroy. There’s a list of actors that have all lent their voice to Batman, to add my name to that list is surreal.

QUESTION: You can’t tell the difference between voices.

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Which is good, I guess. Especially with Origins, we wanted to skew that towards what Mark Hamill had established and what Kevin Conroy had established. Troy said it was like for the performances we were doing to be believable, there was a point on the horizon where these characters could grow up to become those versions of the characters, and we were definitely mindful of that. We changed it up even for Batman Unlimted. Wes Gleason, our director, worked closely with me to say, “Hey, we’re not going to do necessarily that same dark, brooding or unhinged kind of thing.” This is a more calm, collected Batman, and obviously we’re skewing something more family friendly with the Unlimited series, so we try to play it up in that way. Origins was an origin story, so he was much more trying to figure out what kind of Batman he wanted to become. With this,there’s no wondering about what kind of Batman he’s going to be. It’s a blast. To say that it’s an honor doesn’t do it enough justice.

QUESTION: Would you characterize your Batman as a more calm, collected straightforward Batman?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Yeah, for the Unlimited series, I would say, for sure. Origins was a different situation, but for this, he’s just Batman tried and true. He’s not trying to figure out who he is or what he’s doing, he’s got all the answers and he’s out to stop the bad guys. It’s a classic version of Batman, but skewed more towards introducing it to a younger audience, which is why also I really like getting to be a part of this. Origins is great, video games are cool, but they tend to skew to an older audience. As grown ups, we all love these characters because we were introduced to them at some point in our lives very early on and to be a part of something where kids might really pick this up for the first time, get some of the toys, watch the movies, and go, “This is cool.” To know that I got to be the voice of something being introduced to them at that age is cool. I always liked that. It’s fun to be able to tell my friends, “Hey, your kids can watch this project that I’m a part of.” There are a lot things that I might do and they’re like, “Hey, we bought this Assassin’s Creed game for our son.” No. No. Don’t do that. So to do the family friendly stuff is always cool.

Batman Unlimited Mechs vs. MutantsQUESTION: Is there anything voice-wise you do differently between Origins and this?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Not really, it was more of a performance thing. The voice was still just that dark, but it was more an attitude kind of thing. The Batman of Origins would generally know (Batman Origins voice) how many lives. Almost that Christian Bale throaty voice growl, and I don’t know that we could ever really approached that with the Unlimited Batman. Just more straightforward, I think. But technically, nothing I’ve done different with the voice, just more of how we approach the performance, and that’s Wes Gleason the director steering me in the right direction.

QUESTION: Each film has stepped up in danger level, how does he deal with this current threat level?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: I’ve heard someone say it’s like Pacific Rim in Gotham, essentially, which is interesting. I love this because in the last one we had Batman riding a robotic dinosaur shooting lasers, and I thought that’s about as cool as life could ever get, and now we’ve got Batman in a mech suit. So obviously with Mr. Freeze coming up with this serum or formula to allow Bane and Killer Croc to become these huge mutants, Batman’s got to answer the call. So what better than a massive mech suit to do battle? Yeah, they keep ramping it up, but I think that’s what you have to do for kids. It’s interesting to see Batman use even more technology than what he normally does to face this particular threat. They keep ramping it up. The only thing that could be cooler is if — maybe they’ll do this for another one some day — there was a mech suit riding a giant robotic dinosaur with laser cannons. That would be a huge robotic dinosaur.

QUESTION: I’d love to see what would make Batman have to do that.

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Yeah, right, if Joker all of a sudden was ginormous, he’s the size of a small planet.

QUESTION: It’s like Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Was that intentional?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: I really don’t know. We’ve got Chris Wyatt and Kevin Burke as the writers, and I don’t know if there was any specific homage to a previous iteration of the character or anything like that. I know that they’ve got the toy line to support all of this stuff, and obviously you want to be able to introduce certain elements in that to support the toys, but I don’t know if it was motivated by any previous iterations.

Batman Unlimited Mechs vs. MutantsQUESTION: Do you voice other merchandise in this world?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: I don’t. We might do what they call walla, which is background stuff, crowd scenes, and I’m sure there’s been probably other characters here and there. There might be a police officer that I’ve voiced or something like that. The weirdest thing about what we do in terms of the way these things are produced and the way the process goes, I’m going to watch the film for the first time with everybody else today in its finished form. We record sometimes a year ago, if not longer, so there’s a lot of stuff that you forget that you did. You watch the film and all of a sudden you go “Oh, that was me” for another character. So I couldn’t tell you. I’m sure there are other little incidental characters that I’ve done throughout the film, but which ones, I couldn’t tell you. It’s like yes, I’m Cop Number 2.

QUESTION: What about in terms of the toys, do they approach you because they need it to be this version of Batman?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: It doesn’t work that way. I think that they call me to say we want you for another project, and I was like, “Yes, I’m on my way, where do I go?” Because there have been a number of actors that have sort of lent their voice to characters, I don’t think they say, “You’re this Batman for us and that’s where you’ll stay.” Nobody owns the roles and nobody’s guaranteed anything. That’s why it’s always amazing if you get to do it more than once. But no, they haven’t come to me and said, “You’re going to be our young Batman. You’re going to be the Batman for our young audience.” It’s nothing like that because, gosh, I’m trying to think of all the different guys who’ve done it. Obviously there are so many different versions. Obviously you’ve got the Killing Joke and it’s back to Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill doing Batman and Joker respectively, and it’s not as if they’re the older or the more mature versions. Sure, they’re well established in it, but we’ve seen other versions. Son of Batman they’ve had a different voice actor. I don’t think they say you’ll be the Batman for this series of games or this series of films. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t.

QUESTION: Have you seen kids react to this?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: For sure. One of the joys of being on social media is having old friends from high school and whatnot go, “This is so crazy, I remember you as this goofy kid in high school and it’s like now you’re Batman and my kids are loving this, and I get to go ‘I know Batman.'” That kind of thing. So it’s been fun. That’s why I say the family friendly stuff is always more of an honor to be part of that than it is to be part of some of the adult stuff. As adults, we already know, “I love Batman, I love this character, I love that character,” but you kind of forget when we were introduced to it what it meant to us at that time when the fantasy was still there. So it’s neat to have a situation where the roots are being established with young kids who are getting to see these films for the first time and getting to be introduced to these characters. So it’s fun when I’ve got a friend that calls me up and goes, “I didn’t know that you were in this,” or, “Who the heck do you think you are thinking you’re Batman? You’re that dork in high school!” So it’s fun.

QUESTION: Have you ever gotten together with other people who have played Batman and compared notes?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: No, in fact, I’ve had some people ask did I seek anything from Kevin with regards to other characters, or contact the previous actor to ask him? And really, truly, the job boils down to when I show up, I’ve got to be prepared to work with a director and have them tell me what it is they want from me. It’s not up to me to say, “I’m going to do this version of the character” because it changes so often from project to project. It was a big deal for me to reach out and follow Kevin on Twitter. I held off on doing that for quite a while because it was like, I think when Origins came out, people were expecting me to be like, “Yeah, that’s right, I’m Batman.” No, I didn’t think that way at all. It was like, “I cannot believe I have this opportunity,” but they had established these roles in the animated sense and the video game sense for so long that it was like, “I hope people don’t think that I think that I’m stepping in these shoes in any way, shape, or form.” So I had eventually messaged him and said, “I hope we get the chance to meet some day at a convention or something” and was basically just paying a manner of respect. Look, this was an opportunity, and he couldn’t be nicer, and I hope I get a chance to meet him some day. It’s kind of ironic I have yet to meet him. We haven’t done a convention together or anything like that, and nine times out of ten, I know he’s here but it’s like everybody is off doing different things. Typically, I don’t know that you would want to ask another actor what they did. Wes Gleason our voice director would be the one to tell me what he wants for me. It doesn’t really ever work where I get to show up and say, “This is the version that I’m going to do and you will take it.” I’m hired to provide a voice to this character and the people who have created all of this, do all the writing, do all the animation, that kind of stuff, those are the people who are also helping create the character, so it’s up to me to make sure that I can be malleable and adjustable and directable, but I don’t get to determine what it’s going to be. At the end of the day, I’ve got to do what the director asks.

Regular Show Thomas Fights Back

QUESTION: What was it like on Regular Show when (SPOILERS) your character turned out to be a spy?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Oh, he’s a spy, a Russian spy. That was awesome, getting to be a part of something like that and working with another creative individual. I can remember they brought the Thomas thing to me, and I’m like, “Oh, he’s a goat, so he makes goat sounds?” And JG Quintel, the creator, was like, “No, dude, it’s just he’s a scapegoat, but he’s not a goat goat,” so I’m like, “Oh, okay.” He’s like, “Don’t do goat sounds.” It was a blast. JG is one of the most creative people I think I’ve ever met, and he’s created something very…I would say it feels like something you would’ve seen in the 80’s to a degree, or it pays homage so much to 80’s pop culture in a lot of ways, but it’s so unique and so original and so bizarre in so many ways. To be a part of that and to have had a recurring character like that was also a huge honor. And that’s another one of those fun things where I get to have friends that say, “My kids are huge fans of Regular Show, I didn’t realize you do all those characters.”

QUESTION: Can you talk about your relationship with Robin and have you been teaching him more?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: I think, yeah, there’s a couple scenes. I’m trying not to reveal spoilers and whatnot. There’s a couple of scenes where…I mean he’s still Robin through and through, and we play around with that a little more in the Unlimited series than we do in certain other iterations. I’d say he’s more competent, but obviously he’s got to progress, and we can’t keep going to that well where it’s like, “Oh, Robin, you’re so funny.” So I would say…I’m trying to skirt all the spoiler alerts on this. I’ll just go with Robin is Robin, maybe it’s a more enhanced version of Robin in this one. Maybe it’s not.

TOONZONE NEWS: We’ve talked about your approach to Batman, what about your approach to Bruce Wayne?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: When Origins was coming out, we were doing a lot of press for that and a lot of people asked, “What do you think Batman is? Is Batman Bruce Wayne or is Bruce Wayne Batman?” I’ve always thought that Batman is Bruce Wayne. He’s somebody who experienced an unbelievable trauma at an early stage in life and as a result, vowed to make sure that he can prevent that from happening to anybody else. To me, that’s a very human sort of approach. That, to me, is a decision that Bruce Wayne made to don the cowl and become a superhero. The approach when it comes to Bruce Wayne is maybe it’s a little more lighthearted in Unlimited. I always felt that Origins was basically the story of Bruce Wayne and Alfred and almost a father figure that Alfred was trying to become for Bruce Wayne in that, and Bruce Wayne going, “Hey, I’m not just this little kid anymore. I am a capable, competent individual” and learning he also needed to then accept help. That it could be advantageous to him. For this, I don’t know that we’re going to see much development or a new approach to Bruce Wayne per se, usually it’s just more in supporting the storyline of this dual existence that he has. I don’t know that there’s anything too specific or relevant or about Bruce Wayne in this particular film. So the approach might not be all that different in this one as opposed to the two previous ones.

QUESTION: Nightwing is also in this movie, and sometimes they are at odds with each other, is that the case here?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: I always think it’s been a respectful situation, but you gotta have that. It’s more exciting to have there be a little bit of tension, a little bit of conflict, and I know we play that up still. There’s still the snarky interaction, which works really well because it’s Will Friedle.

QUESTION: We always see Batman join other heroes like Oliver Queen, is there any other superhero you would like to play off of?

ROGER CRAIG SMITH: Sonic the Hedgehog. That way I get to play two roles and it would be all me and it would be super important. That’d be fun.


WILL FRIEDLE

Will Friedle
Will Friedle (courtesy of the Critical Role Wikia)

QUESTION: You’ve played Terry McGinnis, do you feel some of Terry carries over to Nightwing?

WILL FRIEDLE: A little bit. I think the voice quality is kind of the same because they’re both those angst ridden teen/20-year-old kind of thing, but it was certainly different because Dick Grayson always has that “Why don’t you love me Batman?” kind of thing about him. He was never nice to me. Whereas I don’t think Terry was ever like that. Terry was Batman, so he never had to be in Bruce’s shadow in any way, shape, or form. I think that was always such a chip on Dick Grayson’s shoulder, where it was just, “OK, dude, suck it up already. You’re a superhero for God’s sake.” So he had to go off and establish himself as Nightwing and another in a long line of Robins. There has to come a time where people are like, “Maybe Bruce Wayne shouldn’t raise people.” You just got Robin after Robin after Robin that has problems. Maybe don’t give him a kid.

QUESTION: And every now and then, they die.

WILL FRIEDLE: Exactly. Oh, we lost that one. Come on, let him just be alone. But yeah, again, the voice quality is the same, but they’re very different characters. I think Terry is more confident whereas Dick is more cocky. So I think there’s a very different tone between the two of them when it comes to that.I imagine Terry would stand in the corner and just be a fly on the wall, where I think Dick is kind of the guy that after half an hour you’re like, “Just shut up already, I don’t want to hear you talk any more.” That was always kind of the vibe I got from him.

QUESTION: How does it feel coming back to Batman proper?

WILL FRIEDLE: It feels great, other than the fact that it’s a horribly dysfunctional family. It does. Working with these guys, and we’ve got an incredible cast all over the place, it’s always fun to hop back into a Batman movie. It’s a Batman movie. Whether you’re doing Return of the Joker, which is amazingly dark, or you’re doing one of these G-rated ones, you’re still in the Batman world, so it’s pretty much one of the coolest worlds you can be in. Love it.

QUESTION: Are you attracted to the DC Universe, having worked in several DC properties?

WILL FRIEDLE: I am, in that the DC Universe is amazing, but I’m just attracted to good stories. DC always has amazing stories, but so does Marvel. I don’t want to say it out loud, but right now, I’m Star Lord on Guardians of the Galaxy, so being in the Marvel world is pretty amazing as well. I just love a good story, and I think people are finally waking up to the fact that comics have a back catalog of the most amazing storytelling and writing in the last 75 years of American history. You look at some of the greatest stories ever, and it’s comic books. I always say it’s our American mythology. This is Zeus, this is Apollo, that kind of thing. So you go back and read all of these and people are going, “Oh wow, look at all this superhero stuff coming out now.” No, it’s been out for half a century, it’s just now coming to your living room, so you get it. But there have been people lining up every Wednesday to buy these things for years, so I think people are really just starting to catch up to how good the worlds really are and just they are so rich and so fulfilling, especially for people who are comic book fans. I have to admit, I’m just getting into it because I’m a fantasy geek. The fantasy novels that are inches thick and are book one of 14, that’s what I love. But I’m calling friends that are comic book fans and going, “OK I’m at a certain point in whatever comic book,” X-Men or whatever, and I know now I can go on this path and read this way, and I have friends going, “No, no, no, no, backtrack two books. And now you have to go off this way and cut off that way.” I love that. Because I’m a completist, I absolutely love that stuff. I know it’s the next six months of my life. There are some people who are like, “Oh God, I can’t do that,” whereas I’m like, “Get me started, I can’t wait to do this.”

QUESTION: Based on that, is there a character you want to voice?

WILL FRIEDLE: You know what’s funny is the character I always say I want to voice is one from my childhood that is not in comic books. Or is, but is from lame comic books. I’ve always wanted to be Cobra Commander. I’m always the young superhero. I’ve never played the bad guy. When you think about the bad guy you want to play, I want to play the lamest, worst bad guy ever, who was Cobra Commander. He was the worst. So that idea of being him has always been my aspiration.

QUESTION: How would he sound like?

WILL FRIEDLE: He’d sound like Cobra Commander. (does voice) He’s got to be high and whiny and Destro! He was just the greatest horrible villain ever, so yeah, that would, by far, be the one I’d pick.

Batman Unlimited Mechs vs. MutantsQUESTION: Did you like seeing the evolution of Terry McGinnis? Even in the comics, he’s older now.

WILL FRIEDLE: I loved it. I remember getting a call from Bruce Timm and he said…no, it must’ve been e-mail. I’m trying to remember what year it was, but pretty close to pre-e-mail. This was 2001, 2002. But he called and said, “I am mailing you something right now. It’s an episode called ‘Epilogue’. If you tell anyone about this, I am coming to your house and I’m killing you.” Oh God, what is it? “I’m not even going to say I over the phone, just read it and then call me back.” And I remember reading it, and it was like you get to see Terry in the future and this is…he’s his dad?! It was un-freaking-believable, and then when I actually saw how they did it kind of black and white film noir, I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Then of course, the first time I heard, because again I’m not big in the comic book world, I was doing an interview and somebody said to me how do you feel now that they killed Terry? I went, “Wait, what?” They went, “Yeah, they killed him in the comic books.” You gotta be kidding! But then they brought him back, but it was still like, “What the hell are you talking about?” So hearing the uproar after they killed him to have to bring him back, that made me feel really good. I’m not the only one who was like, “I am not Jason Todd. I am not a Robin, for God’s sake,” so thank God they wanted to bring him back. But yeah, that whole “Epilogue” recording session…the writing was just off the chain for that episode. So yeah, I loved that. I absolutely loved it. And what a way to wrap up the series, which we hoped we weren’t done, but it was what it was, and I think we grabbed our little place in Batman history. That episode was incredible.

QUESTION: Can you talk about Nightwing’s story?

WILL FRIEDLE: Yeah, I was going to say “In the movie we’re doing now…” He’s Nightwing. It’s one of those things where I tell people, again, Bruce Timm — who is amazing — once told me that there should always be a Batman for everybody. And I love the fact that we’re doing a G-rated Batman right as they just premiered the Killing Joke. There should always be that kind of Batman for every age to come in and enjoy. Batman, I think, more than any other superhero, is really conducive to that kind of storytelling. You can go campy, you can go really badass and everything in between. So this story, what I love especially about Nightwing’s story is you can have all this stuff going around and he’s Nightwing. He’s kind of the comic relief, again, of everything that’s going off, and that’s what is so great about him. They just released the LEGO movie where I was Nightwing. The first time I was ever a LEGO, and I was the LEGO that came with the box set, thank you very much. So stuff like that, again, he’s kind of the snarky little brother that was never given the attention he needs, so he’s going out to be a superhero. That’s how I always got Nightwing. But then again, because it’s the Batman world, Nightwing can also just turn around and be the Ultimate Badass. Hopefully, they’re going to have a Nightwing movie, like a full-on feature movie, because the character deserves it. It’s such a rich backstory that, yeah, I can’t wait to see it.


JOHN DIMAGGIO

John DiMaggio
John DiMaggio

QUESTION: What’s it like voicing Killer Croc in this movie?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: It’s fun. It’s silly, and it’s packed with action, and it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy doing these films. They’re a blast. And it’s Killer Croc, and he’s 30 stories tall. Killer Croc turns into Godzilla, and it’s pretty awesome. Gotta love it.

TOONZONE NEWS: You play a lot of big characters. Taking Jake out of the equation because he can shape-shift, who is the largest character you’ve ever played?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I guess this version of Killer Croc as far as size is concerned. I guess I play big characters because I’m a big guy, and my voice is big, and there’s a cavern to work with here. I think that helps. I think maybe there’s short-sightedness on the side of casting and it’s just like, “Let’s just bring in DiMaggio.” Roger Craig Smith can be yell real loud and really deeply. But it’s fun. I’m lucky. Me and Fred Tatasciore got a lockdown on all sorts of stuff.

QUESTION: Killer Croc has been interpreted in a number of different ways, what’s yours like?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: A G-rated badass. There you go.

Batman Unlimited Mechs vs MutantsQUESTION: So he doesn’t eat people?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: No, not in this one. He’s not eating anybody. The difference between this Killer Croc and the Killer Croc in Suicide Squad is night and day. But that’s the beauty of the DC world and the superhero world is that you can go from camp to cutthroat. There’s something for everybody in this world. So that’s really the best thing. That’s the best part. That’s the joy of it because you can play all sorts of moments, as far as the acting is concerned within that world, and that’s great because there’s a cartoon for everybody. All ages. That’s the way it should be.

QUESTION: You’ve done so many characters already, is there anybody you’d like to play?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I’d like to take a shot at Batman. Just a version of Batman. Not like a Kevin Conroy, I’m not taking Kevin Conroy’s job, but if Bruce Timm’s doing a Batman project and they’re not using Kevin, I’d like to take a stab at it. But I’d probably be doing a campier sort of Batman.

QUESTION: Can you do an Adam West kind of Batman?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: He’s got sort of a (Adam West voice) “Robin, I have this, kind of got a throaty sort of thing.” It’s kind of Shatner-esque. But yeah, a little bit of that. That’d just be fun. I’ve love to play the Joker again. Love to play Aquaman again.

QUESTION: That Aquaman was like a high point on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: You know what’s funny is that it was down to Diedrich and I for Batman, and he got Batman. As a consolation prize, I got Aquaman. And I was thrilled, I was like, “This is going to be great.” Everybody is like “Really, Aqauaman?” and I’m like “Yeah, man, it’s Aquaman, dude!” 75% of the world is water, it’s my world, and you’re just a squirrel in it trying to get a nut. So basically, we just went overboard with it and made it this gregarious wonderful human being.

Batman the Brave and the Bold Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure!QUESTION: That family roadtrip episode.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: Yeah, the land roadtrip was genius. It was great stuff. James Tucker is fantastic. The guys that worked on that show were absolutely brilliant, and that was a joy. We sang songs. We did musical numbers. It was great. It was fantastic. And that’s why I love that camp. People were like “Dude, you made Aquaman cool again,” and I was like that’s a great concept.

QUESTION: You and Mamoa.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: He’s hardcore. I’m not getting in that dude’s way.

QUESTION: Did you see the new trailer?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: No, I didn’t. I loved him in Game of Thrones, he was great in Game of Thrones. He’s probably eating one can of tuna fish a day.

QUESTION: You do a great Tracy Morgan impersonation.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I came up with Tracy Morgan doing stand-up, so I know Tracy. Tracy and I go way back. I haven’t seen him for a while now. The accident happened, I hadn’t seen him. Hopefully the next time I am in New York I’ll run into him. But I go way back with him. I used to go to this bar in LA, and he would be there, and he would come up to me and go “Yo, John, we gotta get that Chappelle money, that’s for real. You’re going to be my Neal Brennan.” He used to come into the club when I did standup and everybody would go to the back of the club to watch him. He would get up on stage with a wifebeater t-shirt and a towel wrapped on his belt and a do-rag to get his wave right, and he would just step up on stage, rubbing his belly, and he would just go “Yeah, I’m going to get somebody pregnant in here tonight, that’s for real.” It was just crazy and ridiculous, and mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery. I love Tracy.

QUESTION: Would you ever use your Tracy Morgan voice as an approach to a character?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: Actually, I did use Tracy Morgan to do this character on Penguins of Madagascar that was an alien. And what they did was they reversed it. I recorded it, and then they played it backwards. All I said was like (makes alien noises) and just spoke gibberish and then they played it backwards. So it was just Tracy Morgan speaking gibberish in reverse. Not as a penguin, but as an alien creature. So I did get to stick him in there.

QUESTION: You voiced Marcus in Gears of War.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: Yes, Gears of War 4 is coming out in October. I’m psyched about that.

QUESTION: Ice-T is in it, how was he?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I didn’t get to meet him, but he was really…it was pretty funny because he was trying to win the scene.

QUESTION: The scene between both of you was funny because you were arguing.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: He tried to win that scene. Like, he blew his voice out. I kind of beat Ice-T. That’s kind of funny. He couldn’t hang. I’m not going to say that, he can hang, he’s the man, but this particular moment, it was Marcus’ moment. But he’s great and he was great in the game. I just saw him do a cover, and it was nuts. Like his band is tight, oh my God. Totally intense, and they played the Gears of War 3 party in LA. Body Count shows up at the wrap party for the game. The big show was awesome.

Batman Under the Red Hood JokerQUESTION: What’s your favorite DC villain you played, which one sticks with you?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: Well, the Joker. The Joker definitely.

QUESTION: Especially in that story.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: Yeah, especially in that story. That was the really cool thing about it, that it was such a serious take on the Joker. I really enjoyed that because playing jokes and being silly is great, but scaring the bejesus out of somebody is also fun too.

QUESTION: That scene with him and Black Mask.

JOHN DIMAGGIO: He just wipes out everybody. (Joker voice) “I’m going to need some guys. Not these guys because they’re all dead.” (Joker laugh).

QUESTION: When coming up with the voice of a character, do you just need an image?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I’ll put it to you this way. For a voice actor that predominantly does animation and video games, the character design, when somebody shows you what it is, that’s your costume. You put on that costume and you use your tools and your imagination to figure out where the voice is placed. You incorporate what the faces look like. And then you go from there. You hear what the writer and the producer and the director have to say, and they chip in, and it’s a collaboration. It all depends on who you are and the kind of clout you have. I’m not going to go in and go “Not changing it, that’s the thing I’m doing it.” That’s not going to work. You’ve got to mix it up a little bit, so it’s not just on you, it’s on everybody.

QUESTION: You tend to voice gregarious characters, what do you think as a character or a performance where you had to go outside the box for?

JOHN DIMAGGIO: I think the Joker was probably one of those roles. To really focus on the diabolical, maniacal personality of that character and to hone it in and yet have these moments explosion and then focus, like that, in a flip of a dime. Bam. I think that was a lot of fun. That was challenging, and that was something that I am really proud of. I’m really proud of that role.


Toonzone would like to thank Roger Craig Smith, Will Friedle, and John DiMaggio for taking the time to talk with us, and the ever-awesome WB PR team for setting up the roundtable sessions. Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants will be available on Digital HD on August 30, 2016, and DVD and Blu-ray on September 13, 2016. Stills courtesy of the Worlds Finest Online.